A few bosses in Dubai may have seen a large portion of their staff phoning in sick in recent weeks, with the Dubai Rugby Sevens, DP World Tour Championship and Omega Dubai Ladies Masters all taking place. And in ten years’ time, I predict there will be a few more man- (or woman-!) flu cases doing the rounds. The Qatar Football World Cup in 2022 is less than ten years away, should it be held during the traditional summer months. Before we know it, the sporting world’s best show will be on our doorstep: we will have 32 of the world’s best teams competing for the famous trophy just a one-hour flight away.
There has been an awful lot of talk about the tournament being staged in the summer, even with the 50°C heat Qatar experiences at that time. We all know that a DVD box set and hibernation is a much better activity during July and August in Dubai. UEFA president Michel Platini has even said that domestic leagues should be put on hold to allow the showpiece World Cup event to be staged in November and December, in cooler conditions.
However, Qatar 2022 boss Hassan Al Thawadi said this week that the tournament will take place in the summer, and Qatar 2022 will leave behind a legacy: that tournaments of this scale will no longer have to worry about the heat. The way forward, so says Al Thawadi, is innovative new technology that will cool the stadiums and infrastructure. I can’t wait to see Qatar’s electricity bill for August 2022.
Talking of the world’s best in the region, Abu Dhabi will once again host the HSBC Golf Championship from Thursday January 17 to Sunday 20. As mentioned last week, the likes of Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy have already confirmed, and now I believe German Martin Kaymer will also be back. Kaymer has enjoyed exceptional success at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club, having won three of the four championships in which he has played. He ended the 2012 season with a win at the Nedbank Challenge in South Africa last week, so I’m sure he’ll be hoping to make it four out of five.
Tom Bushell hosts Sport On 7 on City 7 TV (Mon 8pm) and is Arabian Radio Network’s head of sport.
And another thing…
Fresh from the 43rd Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens, local rugby is heading in the right direction. With the national team changing from Arabian Gulf to ‘UAE Rugby’ in January 2011, the IRB has now accepted UAE Rugby as a full IRB member.
It means the UAE Rugby team is now eligible to compete in tournaments such as the World Cup. It would take a gigantic effort to qualify, but it is now, in theory, possible.